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Myopia ( nearsihtedness )

Myopia is what most people call being shortsighted. In myopia the distance object is focused in front of the retina so the image is blurry.

Generally, myopia is an inherited trait that is often detected in school-age children. Because the eye continues to grow during childhood, it typically progresses until about age 20. Changes in the length of the eye may require new eyeglasses as frequently as every six months, much like needing larger shoes to fit growing feet. Between the ages of 20 and 40, there is usually very little change, although nearsightedness may also develop in adults due to health conditions such as diabetes.

Most research supports the theory that nearsightedness is hereditary. There is also growing evidence that it is influenced by the visual stress of too much close work.

Myopia is best treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses that correct nearsightedness by bending the visual images that enter the eyes, focusing the images correctly at the back of the eye. The lenses do not cure the myopia but they bend light rays to into focus on the retina. Depending on the amount of nearsightedness, you may only need to wear glasses or contact lenses for certain activities, like watching a movie or driving a car.

Recently, some clinical trials showed that the progression of myopia can be slowed by wearing certain special designed glasses or contact lenses.

Another option for treating nearsightedness is orthokeratology (ortho-k), also known as corneal refractive therapy. It is a non-surgical procedure that involves wearing a series of specially designed rigid contact lenses to gradually reshape the curvature of your cornea. The lenses place pressure on the cornea to flatten it. Although Ortho-k temporarily improves the sight by bending the light entering the eye to be focus on the retina, after the use of the lenses is discontinued, the cornea returns to its original shape and myopia returns.

Medical treatment for myopia with the use of special drops (atropine) and bifocal glasses has been studied in recent years and appears to be not so effective.

Laser procedures are also a possible treatment for nearsightedness in adults. They involve reshaping the cornea by removing a small amount of eye tissue.

For people with higher levels of nearsightedness, other refractive surgery procedures are now available. These procedures involve implanting a small lens with the desired optical correction directly either inside the eye in front of the natural lens or replacing the natural lens. These procedures are similar to one used for cataract surgery patients.

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